Business in fox's clothing

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South African organisations must have the eyes of a fox when looking into the future and must be adaptable to the changing environments they operate in.

So said scenario planner Clem Sunter, when addressing the ITWeb BPM Summit at the Forum, in Bryanston, this morning. According to Sunter, scenario planning is not about predicting the future, but is rather about looking at current scenarios and how they may impact the future.

"Organisations must be adaptable, like a fox," he said. "You need to look around and adapt to the changes in the environment."

He believes the chances of a real crisis in SA have risen dramatically, thanks to activities like strikes, especially in the mining and agricultural sectors.

"Though we still give a 50% probability to South Africa staying in the 'premier league' of competitive nations, the assumption that South Africa will retain its premier status in Africa is distinctly dodgy, seeing how much our brand has declined in the last few months."

Just over a year ago, he added, "we were giving a 70% probability to SA staying in the 'premier league', 30% to a peaceful decline into the 'second division', and zero to a failed state". Countries in the failed state category include Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, etc, he pointed out.

With the Marikana tragedy ushering in a period of industrial turmoil, which, aggravated by the lack of service delivery, can escalate into a full-blown South African version of the Arab Spring, the probability has been revised yet again, he said.

"While we are keeping premier league status at 50%, we now have amended the chances of a peaceful versus violent, anarchic decline from 40:10 to 50:50 and, therefore, accord the second division and failed state scenarios each a 25% probability.

"With the tabling of the Secrecy Bill, we changed to 50% for premier league, 40% for second division, and 10% for failed state. Gagging the media would remove an essential pillar of democracy, precipitate a massive increase in corruption, and terminate our brand of being a model for the rest of Africa to follow. Accordingly, we went more negative."

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